Skip to main content

Full text of "My country and my people"

See other formats

SOCIAL   AND    POLITICAL    LIFE           I 3
losing one of his legs. Anybody who thinks face is good enough to compensate for ovenv eight luggage in an aeroplane ought to lose his leg and be thankful For it.
So it seems that while it is impossible to define face, it is nevertheless certain that until everybody loses his face in this country, China will not become a truly democratic country. The people have not much face, anyway. The question is, when will the officials be willing to lose theirs? When face is lost at the public courts, then we will have safe traffic. When face is lost at the law courts3 then we will have justice. And when face is lost in the ministries, and the government by face gives way to a government by law, then we will have a true republic*
In the absence of the social mind, how is philanthropy possible in China, and what forms have collective enterprises for public good taken? The answer is to be found in the village system, which is the family raised to a higher exponent. The pastoral background which developed the personal system of running National Museums also developed a village consciousness, similar to the growing civic consciousness of a New Yorker or a Chicagoan. From the love of the family there grew a love for the clan, and from the love for the clan there developed an attachment for the land where one was born. Thus a sentiment arose which may be called "provincialism/5 in Chinese called funghsiang kwnmien, or "the idea of being from the same native place/' This provincialism binds the people of the same village, or the same district, or the same province together, and is responsible for the existence of district schools, public grainage, merchant guilds, orphanages, and other public foundations. Fundamentally, they spring from the family psychology and do not depart from the family pattern. It is the family mind enlarged so as to make some measure of civic co-operation possible.
In every big city on the coast or inland there are inevitably a number of provincial or district guilds, like the Anhui Gwld,